At Percy Hedley School we are committed to promoting high attendance among our students which was a key focus highlighted in our latest Ofsted report.  We are sharing with you below extracts from our Ofsted report from earlier this school year which relate to attendance in our school.

Ofsted has emphasised nationally across all schools whether mainstream or SEN the importance consistent attendance plays in academic success and overall student wellbeing.

As all our parents and carers will know, we have over the last year through our new attendance policy and our weekly blog, highlighted our commitment to improving attendance.

We thank you for your continued support.

Attendance Policy

View our Attendance Policy by clicking the button below.

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Holidays in Term Time

We are currently receiving an increase in Absence Request Forms for the purpose of holidays during term time. Whilst we understand the importance of family time and taking holidays together, we must remind you that our school attendance policy is in line with guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) ‘Working together to improve school attendance,’ which does not authorise term time holidays unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Parents have a legal responsibility to ensure their child receives an education and as we have outlined in the school blog throughout this school year, the Government is committed to tackling the issues that might cause some children to miss school unnecessarily and so to promote this have introduced the campaign ‘Moments Matter, Attendance Counts’, outlining how every moment in school counts, and days missed add up quickly. As such, leave for family holidays cannot be authorised and any requests received without exceptional circumstance will be declined.

Please be aware that as attendance was an area highlighted at our most recent Ofsted inspection, it is discussed at our School Governors meetings where it has been suggested that it would be appropriate to notify the local authority of any unauthorised absences. This is a course of action we are likely to take going forward.

We hope that all of our parents and carers will support both school and your child by ensuring their attendance.

How does attendance affect outcomes for pupils?

 Being in school is important to your child’s achievement, wellbeing, and wider development. Evidence shows that the students with the highest attendance throughout their time in school gain the best results. Government research found that pupils who performed better both at the end of primary and secondary school missed fewer days than those who didn’t perform as well. The data also shows that in 2019, primary school children in Key Stage 2 who didn’t achieve the expected standard in reading, writing and maths missed on average four more days per school year than those whose performance exceeded the expected standard. Similarly, in the same year, secondary school pupils who didn’t achieve grade 9 to 4 in English and maths missed 10 more days on average over the key stage than those who achieved grade 9 to 5 in both English and maths.


What are the risks of missing a day of school?  

Every moment in school counts, and days missed add up quickly. For example, a child in Year 10 who is absent for three days over a half term could miss 15 lessons in total. The higher a pupil’s attendance, the more they are likely to learn, and the better they are likely to perform in exams and formal assessments.  Data from 2019 shows that 84% of Key Stage 2 pupils who had 100% attendance achieved the expected standard, compared to 40% of pupils who were persistently absent across the key stage.

Mental Health Tips To Help Students

Attending school usually helps to protect your child’s mental health, for a range of reasons including giving them a chance to be with friends and to benefit from learning. However, some children can be anxious or worried about going to school, particularly around the start of the new year or joining a new school or class. This is a normal emotion, and not necessarily indicative of an underlying mental health condition. If their anxiety continues and becomes an attendance issue, you should speak to us about why they are anxious and what can be done.

This information may help you to work through likely reasons for anxiety together with your child; and help you to decide what to do and how to make sure that you get the right support if there are more serious issues.

Here are some of the things Young Minds suggest:

Strategies you can try at home

  • Create a morning routine or timetable

Having a routine for getting up, getting dressed, having breakfast, and leaving the house can create a sense of security and reduce stress for you too. Try to prepare things like checking their timetable, packing bags, and laying out clothes the night before. In the morning, focus on the one thing they need to do next as you work your way through the timetable, rather than thinking about a big goal like ‘getting to school’.

  • Think together about how your child can manage their anxiety

Younger children might like to take something from home, like a favourite toy, into school with them – or use a worry box at home to help contain their anxieties. Teenagers might like to fill a box with things that help them feel calm using our guide to making a self-soothe box.

  • Encourage them to do things that help them relax

Having time to unwind after school can be important. This could be spending time with friends and family, listening to music, going for a walk or run, playing sport, baking, drawing or watching a favourite film.

  • Recognise small achievements

Notice small successes such as getting out of bed at the right time or handing work in at school – and tell your child you’re really impressed with them.

  • Try to take the pressure off

On some days your child may not be able to manage schoolwork or homework. Remember their mood will go up and down and you can always try again the next day

The Chief Medical Officer recently wrote to schools and colleges with advice on children’s illnesses and attendance. Here is an extract from that letter followed by some web sites I have found that you may find useful:

‘There is wide agreement among health professionals and educational professionals that school attendance is vital to the life chances of children and young people. Being in school improves health, wellbeing and socialisation throughout the life course. The greatest benefits come from children and young people attending school regularly…

…We are aware that more children may be absent from school due to symptoms of anxiety than before the pandemic. Worry and mild or moderate anxiety, whilst sometimes difficult emotions, can be a normal part of growing up for many children and young people. Being in school can often help alleviate the underlying issues. A prolonged period of absence is likely to heighten a child’s anxiety about attending in the future, rather than reduce it”. 

These resources are dedicated to children and young people’s general mental health and wellbeing:

  1. Place2Behas a host of mental health resources available. They organise Children’s Mental Health Week every year

3. Young Minds: a letter about how I’m feeling: worksheet to help pupils express their feelings and understand what may have triggered them. For use with pupils in school or at home

Parents and Carers Area

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